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Posts Tagged ‘Encouragement’

I didn’t think I struggled with denial – but I was wrong.

The truth is I am still not sure I have come to terms with having breast cancer. Writing about the stages of grief has helped me recognise some of my own struggles.

The astute among you might have recognised my reluctance to put breast cancer anywhere in the headings of this blog.

I didn’t want to become a woman who has breast cancer.

I didn’t want you all to look at me and see breast cancer instead of seeing ME.

I didn’t want to cause my family any anxiety.

I didn’t want to put a black mark on our family history for my daughter and my grand-daughters.

I didn’t want my life to change.

And so the easiest thing to do was to hide from the layers of loss.

But one by one the layers peel away and a new reality settles.

And I can bear the truth.

There is another truth; I didn’t think I struggled with anger – but I was wrong.

Last week a friend sent me her newsletter full of information about all of her activities and achievements. My mind wandered to explore what a tragedy it would be if she was diagnosed with breast cancer . . . and then it hit me.

TRAGEDY! . . . of course!

And the layers of loss washed over me all together –  that breast cancer has entered my world. My family is anxious for me, and my life has changed.

Anger rumbled inside me.

Today, 9 months since starting the blog, with 150 posts already published, I changed the heading of the blog and added breast cancer right at the top.

Making an obstacle an opportunity – Abigail’s breast cancer blog.

Breast cancer is the underlying driver for the blog. It is an obstacle in my path. Making it an opportunity is my challenge.

I have watched the words in the tag box in the margin grow and change over the months. They reflect what I am blogging about. I kept hoping that the words breast cancer would get smaller and smaller – but instead they grew bigger week by week.

And yet the encouraging thing is that other words like prayer, knowing God, happiness, soul-training and transformation grow to match them – and that is what keeps me going.

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Home safely . . had my first dose of Herceptin, and all is well.

This was the ‘loading dose’ and the one likely to cause a reaction. Administering a foreign protein intravenously has risks.

And so the nurse is very careful to talk through what might happen if I react . . .

“You might feel hot, become breathless, develop an itchy rash or a headache”.

Well he might as well say “Don’t think of a Pink Elephant”.

This is the power of positive suggestion. Tell me NOT to think of something and I have to think of it so that I can tell myself not to.

And before I  know it my headache begins to get worse.

Having read a lot of  Dr David Hamilton’s work on how your mind can influence your body, I know very well that I can easily generate exactly the symptoms I want to avoid.

But today I was ready for it.

I have received prayer ministry many times since being diagnosed with breast cancer. At the start of radiotherapy, I was given a picture of a stream of icy water flowing and picking up debris along the way until it ran clear. Through each treatment I visualised this icy stream flowing through my body, removing ‘debris’ (could that be abnormal cells?) and keeping my breast from burning.  Is it a coincidence that my skin is undamaged by the radiation?

For me, the icy water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

And so today, sitting in the chemo chair for 6 hours, I did not check to see if I felt hot, tight chested, or itchy. Instead I shut my eyes and bathed in a cool soft shower that washed me inside and out. I filled my chest with full deep breaths and rested.

My fellow patient in the chair opposite went home before me – “Bye-bye. Good luck and God Bless”.

Thank you, Father, that you have blessed me. I feel cool, refreshed and safe.

. . the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

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. . . I have added an extra page to the blog for the scripture verses we share.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

And as we learn to endure and to be encouraged together, we will have hope.

Have a look and let me know what you think . . .

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Here is an interesting story to think about.

Twelve cards on my kitchen door.

A friend gave them to me at the beginning of January to encourage me each week as I began my course of chemotherapy.

Each card has one of her photographs of flowers on the front and a verse of scripture inside.

And each came in a sealed envelope, with a date on the front, one per week, starting on 12th January – the day my treatment started.

The first card told me:

Fear not, for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed, for I am your God

My final chemotherapy was scheduled for Tuesday 27th April – but we met the oncologist on 30th March and agreed to stop the treatment early.

Card 12 was dated 30th March and told me:

Now glory be to God who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or dream of – infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes

Not only am I blessed by such an act of love and support, but something amazing happened in the choice of the number of cards, the dates on them and the verses inside them.

Let me know what this story means to you . . .

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I did get some sleep last night. And so today the world is a brighter place, despite the rain.

Having coughed  for days (and nights) I need to rest my voice as much as possible. Today is another very quiet day for me.

I must be reaching the bottom of snake 4 ready to climb the next ladder.

Thank you so much for all your love and prayers. They build me up . . .

encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing

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